'Coach' returns to NBC: Does bringing back network stars work?

NBC is reportedly reviving the series 'Coach,' with star Craig T. Nelson set to return. In these uncertain TV times, multiple networks have brought back the stars of their past successes to star on new shows. Will the new 'Coach' win over viewers?

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Craig T. Nelson poses at the premiere of 'Get Hard' on March 25, 2015.

Actor Craig T. Nelson will reportedly star in a new version of his hit NBC series “Coach.”

Nelson also starred on the NBC show “Parenthood,” which recently concluded its run. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this new show will find Nelson’s character having retired as a football coach but being asked to serve as assistant coach to his adult son, who is the head coach at a college.

“Coach” creator Barry Kemp is also returning for the new show and will serve as an executive producer and writer. The original “Coach” series ran from 1989 to 1997. 

How will this TV show be received? In these uncertain television times, multiple networks have looked back at their successful shows from the past and brought back its stars. Unfortunately, NBC was behind two of the most high-profile failures of this strategy – the network premiered “The Michael J. Fox Show,” featuring the star of NBC’s “Family Ties,” and “Sean Saves the World,” starring “Will and Grace” actor Sean Hayes, in 2013 and both were quickly canceled. Similarly, NBC has brought back its “Friends” star Matthew Perry for the shows “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “Go On,” but both were canceled.

[Editor's note: The original version of this article misstated the network on which the show "Boston Legal" aired.

Other networks have done slightly better with this strategy – ABC’s show “Last Man Standing,” starring its “Home Improvement” actor Tim Allen, is still on TV. Similarly, CBS’s show “Blue Bloods,” featuring its “Magnum, P.I.” star Tom Selleck, is doing very well in the ratings – according to TV Guide, “Blue” placed ninth in the list of the most-watched TV series (not counting such cable offerings as those from HBO and Showtime, though it does include shows like AMC's "The Walking Dead").

However, “Coach” is a somewhat different animal in that Nelson is returning as his character and isn't just a successful network star appearing on a different show. If there’s enough nostalgia for the original series, that could prove to be the tipping point and make the new “Coach” a touchdown.

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